– Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) has been appointed chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Cancer Caucus in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Benninghoff founded the General Assembly’s first Cancer Caucus to bring awareness to cancer, understand what many of our in-state facilities are doing to further cancer research, and to learn more about how state funding is utilized to battle this horrible disease.
“With Penn State’s THON happening this weekend at the Bryce Jordan Center, it only seems fitting that I now have the opportunity to announce my chairmanship of the Cancer Caucus,” said Benninghoff. “As we embark on a new legislative session, I look forward to continuing collaboration among the legislature, affected individuals and families, and health care professionals to better understand and combat cancer.”
Cancer remains a rising concern in Pennsylvania and across the country. After vehicle accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14. Sadly, about 1,040 children under the age of 15 are expected to die from cancer this year alone. However, because of major treatment advances, 85% of children diagnosed with cancer now survive five years or more. This is a monumental increase from the mid-70s when the five-year survival rate was approximately 58%.
“I became passionate about cancer research when our daughter, Ryleigh, was diagnosed with childhood cancer. She eventually succumbed to it in 2010. Similarly, another member’s son was diagnosed with brain cancer,” Benninghoff added. “I know all too well the pain of losing a loved one to cancer and the ways in which it consumes aspects of your life as a caregiver. I hope and pray that through continued research efforts, eventually no one else will have to know that suffering.”
While breast cancer has become the most notable, pervasive form of cancer, pancreatic cancer rates are also increasing, causing additional concern and the need to find better treatments and a cure to this illness.
Questions about the Cancer Caucus or any other state-related matter can be directed to Benninghoff’s Bellefonte district office at 814-355-1300 or his Reedsville district office at 717-667-1175.